By Dan Moren
February 1, 2021 7:52 AM PT
iCloud Keychain comes to Chrome, but sadly only on Windows
Note: This story has not been updated since 2021.
As I wrote just this week in Macworld, Apple has used a number of strategies to encourage users to switch to its products, among them, the “ice water in hell” approach of adapting some of its own software to rival platforms. That’s at least part of the reasoning behind Apple’s iCloud Keychain extension for Chrome, which extends the password manager feature from its own ecosystem to Chrome users on Windows.
But not, interestingly, to Chrome users on the Mac, even though the extension can be installed in that version of Google’s browser. However, according to the text on the extension’s page, it appears to be designed to specifically work with iCloud for Windows, so it doesn’t actually do anything on the Mac beyond providing a broken interface.
That’s a bit of a disappointment for me: I end up using Chrome a decent amount for sites that Safari doesn’t support well or at all—for example, Roll 20, the virtual tabletop system that we use to record our Total Party Kill podcast over at The Incomparable.
Switching between browsers can often be a frustrating experience when it comes to passwords, since it either means a time-consuming process of looking up credentials or relying on multiple password managers, which itself adds overhead in time and energy. These days, I save the passwords for the sites I use in Chrome most frequently in Google’s own password-saving feature, and rely on 1Password for most of the rest, but it would certainly be a lot easier if Chrome on the Mac had access to an iCloud Keychain extension as well.
Something tells me this isn’t going to change any time soon—neither Apple nor Google have much incentive to make Chrome and iCloud Keychain play well together on the Mac—but as always, when big tech companies are at odds, it’s generally the users, caught in the middle, that end up losing.
[Dan Moren is the East Coast Bureau Chief of Six Colors. You can find him on Twitter at @dmoren or reach him by email at firstname.lastname@example.org. The latest novel in his Galactic Cold War series of sci-fi space adventures, The Nova Incident, is available now.]
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